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Lincoln County Jail facing understaffing issue

Both the state of Alabama and Tennessee are facing an understaffing of correctional officers in their jails.

Posted: Apr 18, 2019 6:53 PM
Updated: Apr 18, 2019 11:02 PM

The Alabama Department of Corrections released a report on Thursday highlighting how the state has a problem staffing correctional officers. That problem has crossed state lines as the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department in Tennessee is facing an employee shortage. 

Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder says this problem has been going on for months now, and there is no easy fix. He says it's something the entire country is having to fight.

"We have 9 to a shift, we are currently missing a shift-and-a-half," Sheriff Blackwelder said. "We're running on average 12 to 14 short."

Sheriff Blackwelder is looking into increasing the salary for correctional officers, but it this problem may be bigger than dollar bills. 

"You know it's not one particular thing, the pay does make it better, as with anything, but you can't work back there just for the pay. You have to believe you are supposed to be there," Blackwelder said.

An over 100 page long report from the Alabama Department of Corrections explains the state of Alabama is seeing similar issues plaguing jails. 

The report recommends creating a positive culture in the workplace and improving the working conditions and equipment for officers. 

Sheriff Blackwelder is working with the county commission to raise the salary. There is no timeline on when a decision will be made or if this will fix the problem.

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